Corn futures in the US soar as inventories fall

AGRICULTURAL futures jumped yesterday after two US government reports said that inventories were lower than previously thought.

Farmers will struggle to replenish rapidly shrinking US grain stocks this year, despite plans to give the most land to corn since the second World War, and near-record acreage to soyabeans, the reports said.

Corn futures upticked to the maximum allowed – a rise of 4.5 per cent at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Futures in soyabeans and wheat jumped more than three per cent as traders looked past higher-than-expected figures in the Department of Agriculture’s annual planting survey, and instead focused on inventories, which fell much more than forecast.

The Department said that farmers’ stocks of corn at the beginning of last month were around 15 per cent down on the same time last year, while soyabeans were two per cent down on last year.

Farmers are now reaching the limits of arable land in the US, the world’s biggest crop exporter, the report said. Increased corn sowing is coming at the expense of soyabeans and cotton. The spring wheat crop, while among the biggest in decades, could yet shrink, it said.